Weekend off gives women’s tennis time to prepare


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Fresh off a 12-day hiatus from competition, the Iowa women’s tennis team will try to reload for Saturday’s match against Marquette.

The No. 48 Hawkeyes will travel to the Helfaer Tennis Stadium and Recreation Center in Milwaukee to take on the Golden Eagles at 10 a.m.

“We had intense practice and a lot of fitness,” freshman Jessica Cohen said. “We worked really hard; it wasn’t two weeks off. It was obviously good though for the body to recover with the weekend off.”

With no competition over the past weekend, head coach Katie Dougherty instead had the squad do lots of cardiovascular fitness and practice high-pressure scenarios. The team not only got time off from competition, it spent time off from practice; using the weekend to let their bodies rest and recover. Some players also spent their time catching up and working on future school assignments in order to get ahead.

Another point of emphasis for Dougherty over the past week was correcting some players’ attitudes.

“Some players were playing scared,” Dougherty said. “We were making mistakes; it was different for every person. We have worked through it, it has come up, we have addressed it, and we are moving forward.”

In their last competition, on Feb. 6, the Hawkeyes lost their match at home, 6-1, to an unranked Kansas State team. Senior Lynne Poggensee-Wei picked up the only point for Iowa in singles.

The Hawkeyes dropped from No. 30 to No. 48 in the weekly Intercollegiate Tennis Association Rankings, while their top singles player, junior Sonja Molnar, fell from No. 70 to No. 81.

“My team is not as good when we are playing with something to lose,” Dougherty said. “We are much better when we are playing for something to gain. Obviously, after that loss, our ranking dropped significantly, and I think that it is a good thing for us, because now we are chasing it again, and it’s a much better position for us to be in.”

Although the 4-3 Golden Eagles are not ranked, Marquette can be overwhelming at home.

Marquette is 4-1 at home this spring and posted a 9-1 record in Milwaukee during the 2010 season.
Away from their home court, though, the Golden Eagles are a pedestrian team.

So why is Marquette so dominant at home? One answer may be a rowdy environment.

“The only reason why they are good at home is because their fans are so obnoxious, the facility is a lot smaller [than Iowa’s], and the stands are really close,” Molnar said. “They scream and say inappropriate things.”

Iowa topped Marquette, 6-1, last season in Iowa City, but it may be a different story this year as the Hawkeyes hit the road.

Afterwards, the squad will travel two hours south on to take on No. 34 DePaul in Chicago on Feb. 20.

The undefeated doubles tandem of Molnar and senior Jessica Young appeared in the rankings for the first time together at No. 32. The duo will have an intriguing battle Sunday when they take on DePaul’s No. 55 ranked pair of Gia McKnight and Katarina Millinkovic.

“They are two big hitters,” Dougherty said. “DePaul is a talented team; they make a lot of adjustments while playing. Sonja and Jess just need to play their game, and the better players will win that day.”

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